OFF THE DERECH DOLOROSA
by TOM DUDZICK
2018

...a brilliant performance across the board! Fascinating to see so many yeshiva issues in a convent setting.

Rabbi Jonathan Cohen

 

... a beautiful production...

I enjoyed it immensely.

Father David Neuhaus

 

A treat for the heart and mind. Touches on raw nerves if you care about the truth, God, and the Jewish People. 

Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz

 

Go see this amazing production!

Toby Trachtman

 

Outstanding! 

Professor John Hilton, Brigham Young University                                                                                                     

Entertaining and thought-provoking!

Dr. Daniel Polisar

 

It was really good! It stays with you for a couple of days afterwards, or more.

Father William Russel

 

Outstanding job!  Dr. Elana Sztokman

 

Excellent acting, and it brought up so many important issues.

Nechama Barash

 

Boy, did I love Off the Derech Dolorosa!  Miriam Metzinger

 

Theater and Theology is marvelous, really interesting.

Stephen Laughton, Playwright of One Jewish Boy,

Old Red Lion Theater, London

SYNOPSIS

 

Off the Derech Dolorosa  is a comedy about serious stuff. The play introduces Mary, a plucky new teacher and novice at St. Aloysius Elementary, who does battle with her Mother Superior, a staunch defender of the traditional religious path. As Mary and Mother Superior struggle in their different ways to keep a third grade student in the school, and on the straight path, Mary puts her future as a nun in serious jeopardy when she dares teach the children her personal views of God and the commandments. Mother Superior fears Mary’s teaching will lead her students onto the path to damnation, and Mary’s dream of Sisterhood is further threatened with the untimely arrival of a childhood sweetheart who suddenly declares his love. Will Mary give up her dream of Sisterhood in the face of all the challenges to her unorthodox views? 

 

This comedy may have been written about Catholics in the USA, but the debate about how to educate our children, how to handle religious change, how to navigate conflicts between the rule of law and the rule of compassion, and how to love God with our eyes wide open are as relevant in Jerusalem as in Buffalo, NY. After each performance, we'll explore these questions with our guest scholars.

SCHOLARS

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RABBANIT NECHAMA GOLDMAN BARASH

Rabbanit Goldman Barash made aliyah from Philadelphia over 20 years ago after graduating from Stern College. She studied for three years in Matan’s Advanced Talmud Institute and finished a master’s degree in Talmud at Bar-Ilan University. She is a graduate of Nishmat’s Yoetzet Halacha program. Currently, she is studying in Matan’s new Hilchata program, which is an advanced program in the area of Jewish law. Rabbanit Barash teaches at Pardes Institute. 

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RABBI DR. NATAN LOPES CARDOZO

Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Founder and Dean of the David Cardozo Academy. A native of the Spanish-Portuguese Jewish community of Holland, Rabbi Cardozo holds a doctorate in philosophy and received rabbinic ordination from the Gateshead Talmudic College, subsequently studying at the Institute for Higher Rabbinical Studies and at the Mir Yeshiva. In addition to teaching Jewish audiences, Rabbi Lopes Cardozo often lectures to non-Jewish groups, including Christian leaders, about comparative religion and the fundamentals of Judaism.

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ITTAY FLESCHER

Ittay Flescher is an atheist Secular Humanist Jewish leader and activist who founded Ayeka, the first secular yeshiva in Melbourne. He presents on the subject of Secular Humanism, Israel, Zionism and Jewish Identity at dozens of schools, public events and Limmud conferences around the world.  After 15 years of high school and adult education experience in Australia, Ittay made Aliyah in 2018 with his family. Ittay is passionate about understanding history, interfaith dialogue, and human rights, lecturing on these topics through the arts on a regular basis.

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RABBI AHARON LEIBOWITZ

Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz, an activist and founder of institutions and organizations, including Yeshivat Sulam Yaakov, Hashgacha Pratit, the independent kashrut supervision organization, and lately, Hatuna Pratit, the independent marriage ceremony initiative. Rabbi Leibowitz just finished his term as a councilor in the pluralistic Yerushalmim party.

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RABBANIT RIVKA RAPPAPORT

Rabbanit Rivka Rappaport is the Founder and Dean of the Ahavat Yisrael National Haredi (Hardal) system of schools (known simply as "Rappaport") which includes schools for girls and boysin several cities. Rabbanit Rappaport asserts that a person who is hared to fulfill God’s will (fulfills God's will with awe and trembling) should by definition be concerned with the welfare of all the People in Israel, and should contribute to that welfare. This is the fundamental philosophy of her school system, in which she still actively teaches. Rabbanit Rappaport is informally involved in interfaith relations. 

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RABBANIT DR. JENNIE ROSENFELD

Rabbanit Dr. Jennie Rosenfeld, one of the first Orthodox female rabbis, and the first female communal spiritual leader of an Orthodox community in Israel, in Efrat, appointed by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. Rabbanit Rosenfeld is the author of The Newlywed's Guide to Physical Intimacy, a sexual education book aimed at Orthodox Jews.

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DR. ELANA SZTOKMAN

Dr. Elana Sztokman, a feminist educator and activist. Dr. Sztokman has served as the director of the National Council of Jewish Women in Australia, and as the Executive Director of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. She also founded the Center for Jewish Feminism. Currently, Dr. Sztokman is studying to become a Reform rabbi.

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RABBANIT SHANI TARAGIN

Rabbanit Taragin completed a B.A. and M.A. in Tanach and Talmud at Bar-Ilan University. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D in Tanach while serving as Ram for Tanach in Midreshet Lindenbaum. Rabbanit Taragin also teaches collegiates and adults at MaTaN, Migdal Oz, Sha'alvim for Women, Lander's College, and the Womens' Beit Midrash in Efrat and Ramat Shilo. She is a graduate of Nishmat’s Keren Ariel Program for certification as a halachic advisor in issues of taharat hamishpacha. Rabbanit Taragin lectures and leads Tanach tours throughout Israel and serves on the local religious council dealing with issues of Jewish law and education.

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DR. DEBBIE WEISSMAN

Dr. Debbie Weissman is an Orthodox feminist interfaith pioneer. She made aliyah in 1972 and earned her Ph.D. from Hebrew University, with a thesis focusing on the social history of Jewish women’s education. Dr. Weissman has taught on the faculty of numerous Christian educational  a centers and is one of the founding members of Kehillat Yedidya. Between 2008 and 2014, Dr. Weissman served two terms as the first Jewish woman President of the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ). In 2017, Dr. Weissman published her autobiography, Memoirs of a Hopeful Pessimist: A Life of Activism Through Dialogue (Ktav Publishing). Dr. Weissman’s is the recipient of major awards, including the ICCJ’s 2014 Interfaith Gold Medallion.

CAST AND CREW

 

Crew

Lighting Design - Charles B. Davies

Set Design - Yosef Goldstein

Props Design - Sara Newman

Costume Design - Joanna Schreier

Direction - Yael Valier

 

Cast

Father Stanley - Rabbi Artie Fischer

Mother Regina - Bakol Ruben Gellar

Sister Felicia - Shlomit Kovalski

Mary - Devorah Levine

Joe - Howard Metz

© 2017 by TheaterAndTheology.com.                                                                                                                              Photo Credits: Chana Goldstein  © 2017

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Avrah Levine  © 2018

Karen Feldman  © 2019

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